How Can I Find Delight in Motherhood?

Motherhood is hard and requires we recognize our responsibilities and obligations, not only to our children but to God. Yep, we have responsibilities under God. They are prevalent throughout scripture.

Basing our joy on our own performance will leave us shortchanged every single time. Joy doesn't last on the performance of people or the circumstances of our lives. ~Christin Slade

The Delight of Motherhood

But there is a delight in fulfilling that duty. And our ultimate delight in motherhood comes from our delight in the Lord. If you desire to be a delightful mother, you must delight in Him first!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

There is so much joy in motherhood. And honestly, I am writing this after a rather trying day of being a mother. But I'm learning that where we find our joy is the key to making it an ongoing blessing in our lives.

Finding joy in my children's behavior alone is only going to take me on a roller coaster ride...where there will most likely be way more downs than ups.

Our children are going through a growing and maturing process just like we are. They will never be perfect and basing our joy on their outward behavior will only leave us empty and without joy. In addition, what kind of weight do we put on our children to have joy only when they are well-behaved or doing all-the-things-right?

Basing our joy on our own performance will leave us shortchanged every single time. Joy doesn't last on the performance of people or the circumstances of our lives.

More specifically, our delight as mothers should never be found in our understanding of our own perfection.

So where can I find this lasting joy? This joy that doesn't rest on my children's behavior or my performance?

Delight in the Lord

Joy is from the Lord when we have our eyes fixed on Him. Joy is found when we recognize our purpose is from Him and not our own personal endeavors or desires.

He doesn't just give it -- joy is in Him. When we seek Him and understand our great need for Him due to our own sin, we recognize the greatest gift we could ever receive is life with God. We will never find lasting joy if we don't see it in God our Father.

Job raises some great questions,

Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times? -Job 27:10

Delight in motherhood can come from that deep understanding, embracing, and walking out of the role God has given to us, but only after recognizing our life is in Him. 

I know that my joy can easily be stolen when I depend on it from the wrong places.

I delight in motherhood when I delight in Him, first.

For His Glory,

Christin

The Fight for Joy

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Joy has never been a natural way of life for me. I'm not exactly certain why, but I think the pieces of the puzzle have been slowly making their way to build the big picture.

I've been looking for joy in all the wrong places.

It's not found in what I do or in what I have. It doesn't live in my circumstances. It doesn't even reside in my emotions or feelings because they fluctuate way more than I would like.

I named 2011 joy. But interestingly, joy is not what I learned.

It was grace.

And though the process of finding and practicing joy is coming slowly, it's coming through grace. By knowing God's radical grace, it frees me to experience Him. That is the doorway to finding joy. It's experience, not a way of thinking.

John Piper says,

God is glorified in his people by the way we experience him, not merely by the way we think about him. Indeed the devil thinks more true thoughts about God in one day than a saint does in a lifetime, and God is not honored by it.

Mere thoughts and mere deeds are manageable by the carnal religious mind. But the emotions--they are the weathercock of the heart. Nothing shows the direction of the deep winds of the soul like the demand for radical, sin-destroying, Christ-exalting joy in God. -When I Don't Desire God--How to Fight for Joy

Emotions are an important tool for the heart, but they need to be kept in their place so they can direct us appropriately. If we allow our emotions to run away or take control, they will be tossed with the wind and carry our soul with them. But when used as a gauge  to show direction, they open a door to the whisperings of God.

Joy is much more than an emotion. Joy is an experience. Joy is a command {Deuteronomy 28:47-48; Philippians 4:4}, and the object of [our] joy matters.

Joy will not be rugged and durable and deep through suffering where there is not a resolve to fight for it. --John Piper

If we have no fight in us to pursue, seek, and desire joy even through our messy circumstances and suffering seasons, we won't find it. Joy helps us overcome bitterness, anger, and discouragement. When we aren't battling these off, we fall into a lifelong war we're unwilling to fight through.

When did we decide it was better or easier to remain discouraged or angry? Bitter or resentful? Piper says when we seek the glory of God, we seek our own joy. They are one in the same.

When we look at our circumstances through the lens of God's glory, we find joy on the other side. Joy in knowing who is upholding us--who is carrying us. Joy in simply knowing who Christ is. But this can only come through faith in God's promises. If we don't trust God or don't believe Him, we will have no hope, no peace, and therefore no joy.

The fight for joy is not something we achieve, but rather a gift that God works in us to grasp. Although the fight is our fight, only by the grace of God can we achieve victory. But we're responsible for taking the steps necessary to walk into the battle.

Our joy in him will be the greater because we see him as the one who gives both the joy and the strength to fight for it. -John Piper

Joy of My Heart

 

West Roseville Sunset HDR by dhworth, on Pix-O-Sphere

I have been given a place; a role in this home. Each morning I awake, I try to prepare for the coming of the day. Self fights me hard. Constantly wanting it's own way. There is so much unrest in an undisciplined life. So much frustration that comes when I am outside the place I have been given.

But when I remain inside that heart-place; when I weave my heart steadfast into the work God has placed before me, joy finds me. I don't create it and I don't will it. When I focus that which He has laid out for me and serve as a gift back to Him, joy finds me there. Joy isn't found in the "doing", it is found in the "being". I don't need to seek out the doing--as the Spirit leads me, He becomes me. That's where joy is--in His leading and the reality that I just can't help but follow Him.

Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. Psalm 119:111

Habitual Joy

Joy. That's my word. It's me. It's what I want to be known as - a woman of joy. A joyful wife and mother. Not joy because of what I'm doing, or how things are going, but joy in the Lord. Joy in the fact that He dances over me. Dances. He delights in me. He cares enough about me to save me from eternal separation from Him.

But sometimes I forget. Often, I forget, because I'm tangled up in the everyday life of living. The very breath God gave me is reason for joy. Yet, in and out it goes, without a second thought. It's a habit I don't think about because I know it by heart. It's automatic.

I don't know if it will ever be like that with joy - but, I do know that with God, all things are possible.

Since joy originates in the heart, it is not merely an outward act. Three habits help me cultivate a life of joy:

1. Daily Prayer. I simply must ask God to change my heart and fill it with Him. Everyday. It's really that simple. There are many ways to pray so that devotion does not fade and prayer is a shelter from the storms.

2. Scripture Memorization. Hiding his word in my heart helps me to live out His words.

3. Intentional Meditation. Thinking about joy will help me remember joy. Meditating on verses I've memorized. Meditating on the grace words I want to say before words leave my lips.

Joy begins inward before it's visible. Real joy cannot be visible only and lack fruit in the heart. For me, I cannot show fruit that is not rooted in my heart. I'm no good at pretending.

Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

I still have much to learn friends. Journey with me?